Going, going, gone. What's going to happen to retail when the sales are over?

Sale Ends Today

Oh, Banksy. Always bang on the money with your witty observations (although - ironic art fact! - this oil on canvas swipe at consumerism didn't actually sell when Sotheby's tried to auction it in 2008). We are totally obsessed with sales, which is why it comes as no surprise that everyone from Buckingham Palace to the 99p Store chain is knocking off money quicker than the late Ronnie Biggs (incidentally, how do 99p Stores have sales?!).

Unsurprisingly, that's led to a slightly busier high street than usual (though not everywhere, it seems), but let's not kid ourselves here: people aren't shopping because the recession's over and they're merrily splashing the cash. They're stockpiling in preparation for the moment the sales end, making sure they have everything they need before that 80% off is actually off.

At which point, everything's likely to get rather bleak.

Traditionally, the post-sales period between leading up to Easter has been retail's time to experiment: click-and-collect, loyalty cards, even the world's first ever online store (1992's Book Stacks Unlimited) all came into being during Februaries past (as did the mobile internet and Facebook, incidentally). So now's definitely the time to plan something fresh and innovative.

The smart money is on Social-Commerce: converting the social media audience you've been growing into valuable, real shoppers. And it's not just us saying that: the industry bible Social Media Examiner declared our assertion that ecommerce and social media will grow together as their Number One prediction for the year ahead. Above content marketing, above Snapchat and Instagram Messaging, above everything.

It's not too late to get ahead of the curve - drop us a line and we'll have you up and running in good time to stave off the post-sales slump. But, even if Social-Commerce isn't your bag, don't make the mistake of sitting back and hoping for the best. As history has shown, it's not just the sales that come to an end at this time of year.

Robin Bresnark